Osaka sees steep drop in registered short-term accommodations

Almost a third of Osaka’s short-term ‘minpaku’ listings have been deregistered by their hosts since the start of the pandemic.

Osaka City introduced special minpaku districts in October 2016, allowing apartment owners to lease out their homes on a short-term basis provided they obtained city approval. As at the end of January 2020, there were over 11,000 registered rooms in the city. The pandemic kicked in shortly after, with inbound tourism essentially grinding to a halt. Between February and the end of August, 3,059 of the minpaku listings have been deregistered. 

According to the Japan Association of Private Accommodations, the number of registered minpaku listings operated by members has halved since March. The decrease was most noticeable in Osaka, where hosts have faced tight competition.

With the foreign tourism ban continuing for the near future, short-term accommodation providers are suffering across the country. There have, however, been a couple of locations that have seen demand remain strong. Those appear to be homes in Izu and Nagano that have benefitted from domestic holidaymakers looking to escape the crowds this year while still being within 1 ~ 2 hours drive of a major city. AirBnb Japan also reported that listings located within 80 kilometers, or a 1.5-hour drive from large cities were popular with website users.

In urban centers, hosts are cutting prices drastically in order to maintain occupancy rates. One operator in Tokyo has managed to get occupancy rates back to 80% by slashing room rates by as much as 85%. The result is that the properties are now bringing in less than if they were rented normally to long-term residential tenants. 

ABC News, September 11, 2020.
Zenkoku Chintai Jutaku Shimbun, September 14, 2020.

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